DVD Releases – Week of October 18 2020

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE ULTIMATE TRILOGY”: If you’re a fan of the time-traveling adventures of Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox), chances are good that you own the Steven Spielberg-produced Robert Zemeckis-directed fantasy comedies in some form already. However, what now is meant to be the definitive edition — marking the original movie’s 35th anniversary — gives the pictures their debuts in the 4K Ultra HD format. Along with Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), Marty bends the rules of space and time in a highly souped-up DeLorean — and, in the mid-1950s, has a decidedly Freudian experience when he meets his then-future parents (Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover). “Back to the Future, Part II” takes him to then-distant 2015, while “Back to the Future, Part III” sends him back even farther, to the Old West. Particularly fun among the expectedly bountiful extras is footage of such then-stars-to-be Ben Stiller, Kyra Sedgwick and Jon Cryer auditioning for the main roles. *** (PG: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

“QUIZ”: “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” has been an international hit, but a scandal wracked the British version of the game show, as this drama miniseries — shown in America by AMC —  recounts. A woman (Sian Clifford, “Fleabag”) who’s desperate to be a contestant helps her military-major husband (Matthew Macfadyen, “Succession”) land in the hot seat instead, and though he fares quite well on the program, he ends up being accused of having accrued big winnings by cheating … using an alleged cough-based system of receiving signals from his wife and an accomplice. Michael Sheen plays England “Millionaire” host Chris Tarrant, and Helen McCrory (“Peaky Blinders”) also is in the cast of noted filmmaker Stephen Frears (“The Queen”). (Not rated: AS, P) *** (Also on Blu-ray)

“TREMORS: SHRIEKER ISLAND”: Even if it isn’t around all the time, this horror-with-humor franchise inevitably returns at some point, this made-for-video chapter being the latest example … coinciding (but not so coincidentally) with the 30th anniversary of the original “Tremors” movie. Series staple Michael Gross (“Family Ties”) reprises the role of Burt Gummer, proud vanquisher of the sinister Graboids, who surface yet again when some wealthy and unwise folks make the mistake of messing genetically with the creatures’ eggs. The result is sort of a pseudo-“Jurassic Park.” as the newborn monsters invade an island research facility and threaten the staff there. Jon Heder (“Napoleon Dynamite”) also stars. DVD extras: three “making-of” documentaries. ***  (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“MASTERPIECE: FLESH AND BLOOD”: Currently being televised by PBS, this British drama miniseries finds a recently widowed woman’s new romance regarded skeptically — and suspiciously — by her grown children, who also have their own complicated love stories. Francesca Annis (“Cranford”) plays the mom who’s in the throes of love with her new suitor (Stephen Rea), to the very evident worry of her offspring (Claudie Blakley, Russell Tovey, Lydia Leonard). Those concerns may be justified when something happens that draws a detective’s (David Bamber) curiosity. Imelda Staunton also stars as a neighbor who has her own questions about the situation. Those who acquire this upon release can watch the conclusion before its U.S. broadcast. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

“THE VANISHED”: The title refers to a youngster who disappears during a family vacation in this melodrama written and directed by actor Peter Facinelli (“Nurse Jackie”), who’s also in the cast. However, the main roles go to Thomas Jane and current-season “Dancing With the Stars” contestant Anne Heche, playing the parents of the missing girl. Their efforts to locate her reveal a devastating secret likely to have an impact far beyond the spouses’ current dilemma. Jason Patric also appears as a sheriff who’s less effective than the couple would like, prompting them to step up the search for their daughter on their own. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on On Demand)

“THE HAUNTING”: With Halloween around the corner, it’s an appropriate time for cinematographer turned director Jan de Bont’s 1999 remake of a horror classic (based on a novel by Shirley Jackson) to get new home-video treatment as a newly remastered title in the “Paramount Presents” Blu-ray series. Liam Neeson stars as the leader of a study of insomniacs at the foreboding Hill House, a site with a literally haunted history …  which doesn’t foreshadow good thighs for the experiment’s subjects, some of them played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson and Lili Taylor. Bruce Dern, stage great Marian Seldes and actor-filmmaker Todd Field (“In the Bedroom”” also are featured in this genuine ghost story, which would be told again in the Nefflix series “The Haunting of Hill House.” *** (PG-13: AS, P, V)

FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“PARASITE” (Oct. 27)


“SUMMERLAND” (Nov. 17)


“THE IRISHMAN” (Nov. 24)


Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

jbobbin has 2448 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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